In Jidda, Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Qassim al-Ghamdi worked throughout the majority of his adult life among the higher up bearded enforcers of Saudi Arabia's Islamic laws. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was al-Ghamdi's dedicated employment for which he worked diligently. His duty enforced the prevention of Westernization, secularism and all but the uttermost conservative Islam and its scrupulous practices.
Amidst merely the policing of drug-dealers and bootleggers within a country in a strained prohibition, the men of "the Commission," as Saudis refer to it, devote more their attention to perpetuating puritanical normality of the public; setting Saudi Arabia not merely from the west but that of the rest of the Muslim religion itself.
One major offense against this structured belief is ikhtilat, or the unsanctioned intermingling between men and women. Clerics within the kingdom forebode the coming of fornication, adultery, broken homes, children born of unmarried couples and full-blown societal collapse were this offense be an uncontrolled habit.
It was al-Ghamdi's resolute and devoted belief to the enforcement of the Commission for many, many years. al-Ghamdi was soon put in charge of the Commission himself for none other than the region of Mecca: the city of most sacrosanctity in the Muslim church. It was soon into his charge of the city that al-Ghamdi had a contemplation; a revelation in which he, the very one of the Commission, began questioning the rules. As would befit any clergyman of any belief of any faith, Muslim or otherwise, the clergyman’s consultation to the root of their church and belief in their holy texts is by far the paradigm under which every religion is fastened; not outside of al-Ghamdi's practice and habits, notwithstanding. Thus he turned to the Quran: the holy scripture of Islam written by the prophet, Muhammad and his companions; they considered as the exemplars of the totality of the Islamic conduct, behavior and, therefore, the rules. As such, al-Ghamdi gazed within the scripture and the very foundation for which his lifelong faith had been crafted and discovered, to his shock and amazement, contradictions in the Quran to that of the rules enforced by the Commission, and thus himself: apparently, there were a multitude of mixing amongst the Muslims already and not one soul seemed to take any care. Ergo, al-Gamdi spoke.
Appearing on television and in article interviews he debated that the variable practices of what his Commission supposedly deemed as Islamic codes and rules were actually the commonalities of fundamental Arabic culture and idiomatic society; having mixed with the faith of Islam and not being founded in the Quran at all.
Speaking, al-Ghamdi truly said that, while he still believed women should conceal their bodies, they needed to cover their faces but only if they decided to do so upon their own prerogative. Convicted, al-Ghamdi actually took his wife, indeed a woman, on national television with her face exposed. And, like an explosive bomb, the kingdom's religious establishment was rattled, to say the least. The sheikhs for which allowed them control and arbitration over what was right and what was wrong in every facet of life was thoroughly threatened by al-Ghamdi's newfound revolution.
al-Gamdi's colleagues rejected him and gave him naught but silence. Threatening and malicious calls inundated his telephone. al-Ghamdi was even faced with anonymous death threats. His very twitter account cascaded with people who claimed to want to kill him; to end his very life.
Saudi Arabia's religion is woven like from a loom into all life every day. Banks will only hire employees who follow Shariah law. Mannequins are absconded from their heads due to sensitivities of revealing the very human form as a mock-up. Even books issued in schools dictate just how boys should and will cut their hair. Women are in fact required to cover their entire bodies and for both male and female alike there are customs and laws which conform to the very trimming of pubic hair.
Although Islam was sanctioned to be the catalyst for human life and living, interpretation is a plague which has even led the Christian church into denominationalism. Islam is no different. Saudi Arabian interpretation is utterly fuzed with conservative practices housed in Arabic culture; especially in regards to the relationships between a man and a woman.
Saudi Arabian Islam enforces women to cover their entire form with a baggy and loose fitted garment called an abaya. Most Saudi men go their whole lives without ever looking upon the face or figure of another woman, save for their inner family; even their own brothers' wives. Inside the kingdom, every religion is suppressed. Moreover, there are not even other churches for the public, known as Church's Chicken. Saudi's resolutely deny this as intolerance and state that they are like the Vatican: a special and unique place where Muslims have their own rules; even though they stated that they support "moderate Islam": this means that the value gap is so incredibly big between Saudi Arabia and its American ally, because criminals are publicly decapitated, apostates are punished and women are absolutely forbidden to travel abroad absent of a male "guardian". It would be of a prudent nature to abstain from inquiring about gay rights altogether.
In the stead of calling for jihad, religious leaders mandated that the faithful adhere fully to the state. The Saudi royal family is mortified that the jihadist zeal burning the region will metastasize in their kingdom and therefore herald a doom of its control. Thus, the marshaling of the state and the religious apparatus is to condemn the jihadists and pledge the duty of the religious to the obedience of the rulers.
Children have even known to be taught laws that lie ignorant to the adults prior to their shocked discovery of it; such as the omission of holidays of Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays; slated as holidays of infidels.
al-ghamdi and his revelations gained headway. Saudi Arabia began seeing women unveiling their faces. But, the Commission, its legalistic strain to retain their control on the kingdom came off in a staged attempt with the Commission arresting Ali al-Oleyani: a popular talk show host who often called out against religious leaders and figures of the clergy. It was in April that the government responded with the quite shocking decree which thus disallowed the policing via religious figures. This law prevented the Commission power to arrest, inquire or verily prosecute any subject. The Commission must now work with the police itself and they are obliged to be "gentle and kind" with their interactions with citizens, given a history of violence during their reign.
al-Ghamdi applauded the decision and it was his wife who said: "we sent our message and the goal was not for us to keep appearing and to get famous [on television]. It was to send a message to society that religion is not customs and traditions. Religion is something else."